14 Hacks for Shopping on Amazon


Odds are good that you’re already giving Amazon a lot of money. You’re not alone—the appeal of shopping for everything from cat food to cameras without leaving your couch is too strong. You don’t have to stop shopping on Amazon anytime soon, but there are plenty of things you can do to make your money go a little further. These simple shopping hacks can save you money and time.

1. Sign Up for Amazon Prime

If you use Amazon regularly, the cost of your annual membership will be quickly covered by how much you save with free shipping on almost everything you buy.

But a Prime membership doesn’t just save you money on shipping. It comes with all sorts of other benefits—many of the other tips in this post are advantages of having a Prime membership.

Normally, Prime memberships run about $100 a year. But if you’re a student, you can get a membership for half that.

2. Try Amazon’s Subscribe and Save

There are some things you have to buy every few weeks or months. Why spend extra on something as boring as paper towels? Instead, try Amazon’s subscribe and save option. You get automatic deliveries of the things you always need, and you pay less than you would if you made a one-time purchase.

3. Check for Daily Deals

You can save a lot of money on items in the “Today’s Deals” section of Amazon’s site. Check it before you buy something. There’s a chance you’ll find what you want at a steep discount.

4. Look into Prime Pantry

Sometimes shopping is fun, and sometimes you’re just buying stuff you need around the house. Prime Pantry makes shopping for things like beauty products, cleaning supplies, and pet care items a little easier. Goods that would normally be too expensive to ship alone can be grouped together in one shipment. The shipping rate is a flat $5.99 no matter how much you buy (as long as it fits in the box—boxes can hold up to 45 pounds). Plus, there are weekly deals, exclusive coupons, and significant discounts for lots of Prime Pantry products.

5. Choose Free No-Rush Shipping

If you’ve got a Prime membership, you get free two-day shipping on almost everything. But if you aren’t in a hurry, you can actually save money by being a little patient. When you choose free no-rush shipping, you can get account credits for certain kinds of items. Amazon offers credits for things like digital movies, Kindle e-books, music downloads, and Prime Pantry products.

6. Clip Some Amazon Coupons

Clipping coupons doesn’t have to be tedious. In fact, with Amazon, you don’t even have to leave the site. Visit the coupon page, and then click to “clip” the coupons you want and add those items to your cart. The discounts will be automatically applied when you check out.

7. Watch Deal Tracker Websites

Amazon prices change often. Sites like camelcamelcamel.com track the history of prices on Amazon. This makes it easier to see which purchases are bargains and which are not. You might find that the product you want is usually cheaper, or you might realize that the current price is a great deal. Either way, you’re making a more informed decision when you buy.

8. Check Your Prime Perks Before You Buy Content

A Prime membership comes with access to lots of content. For example, you can watch tons of popular movies and TV shows without paying anything extra. Next time you think about buying a new movie, check the Prime catalog first—you might find it there.

9. Look for Certified Refurbished Products

If you don’t have your heart set on getting something brand new, check out Amazon’s certified refurbished section. You can get tablets, cameras, and other cool tech at discounted prices.

10. Take Advantage of Free Content

Amazon might be a shopping site, but there are actually a lot of free products. This is particularly true if you like reading the classics. There are plenty of Kindle e-books that you can add to your library for free. Boost your literary cred while saving money!

11. Check the Amazon Outlet

Amazon Outlet may not have the most in-demand items, but you can get huge discounts on cool stuff that has been marked down or overstocked.

12. Browse the Amazon Warehouse

You can also get great deals through the Amazon Warehouse. If you’re okay with something that has been opened or gently used, you can save money on everything from TVs to vacuum cleaners.

13. Consider the Amazon.com Store Card

The Amazon.com Store Card helps you spread the cost of big-ticket items out over time. You can get 6-, 12-, or 24-month financing offers with a card that doesn’t have an annual fee. If you pay off your item in full within the designated time period, you won’t have to pay interest on your purchase. If you choose this option, be sure to pay the card off in time—if you don’t, you’ll be charged interest from the initial purchase date. Cardholders also get 5% back on Amazon.com purchases. As long as you use your card responsibly, you can ease the burden of large purchases and get money back.

14. Try the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card

If you’re interested in a credit card that you can use for more than Amazon purchases, the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card might be right for you. You get a $50 Amazon gift card upon credit approval; 3% back on Amazon.com purchases; 2% back on restaurant, gas station, and drugstore purchases; and 1% back on every other purchase.

However, be sure to check the credit requirements of the card before you apply. Credit card applications can ding your credit, so you want to be sure you’ll qualify. Take a look at your credit report card for free through Credit.com.

Save a little cash with these Amazon shopping tips so you can get what you want and need without going over your budget. And for general finance advice, check out Credit.com’s Personal Finance Learning Center.

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8 Online Shopping Hacks Everyone Should Know

Should You Use Credit or Debit When Shopping Online?

While brick-and-mortar stores still account for most shopping purchases, almost 70% of adult consumers shop online at least once a month, according to the global market research firm Mintel,

If you’re like me, you love the convenience of shopping in your PJs. But how do you find the best deals? The following tips will help you score the very best price on everything, from books to the shelves that hold them.

1. Do Your Homework

To make sure you’re getting the best price, use comparison sites like Price Grabber or Yahoo Shopping before deciding on a site. Simply enter the name of an item and all the retailers that carry it, and the store with the best price should magically appear.

2. Get Dynamic

If you have the patience, watch how a product’s price fluctuates over the course of a week or more. Many sites use “dynamic” or “surge” pricing, which can cause prices to rise and fall due to demand and other factors. Rumor has it some sites even price items based on your personal browsing habits, so try clearing your search history before shopping.

An easy way to keep an eye on prices at popular e-tailers like Amazon, Newegg and more is with price alerts like the ones provided by Slickdeals. Just create an alert for a specific item and you’ll receive an email if the price drops below a certain amount. When the price is right, pounce.

3. Look out for Coupons

Now that you’re armed with info on which retailers have what you want at the lowest price, see if you can get an even lower price by looking for coupons on sites or apps like Dealnews and FatWallet. You may not find a discount or free shipping offer to apply to your purchase, but it’s worth a try.

4. Give a Gift to Yourself

Check sites like GiftCardGranny and Cardpool to look for discounted digital gift cards for the site where you plan to shop. You may save anywhere from 2% to 30% on your purchase.

5. Become a New Customer

If you have not shopped on a certain site before, you probably have a “new customer” discount coming your way, which will pop up when you visit the site. And whether you are a new customer or not, familiarize yourself with the store’s return policies. While most e-tailers accept returns, some won’t do it for free, so it’s good to know the rules just in case.

6. Let It Be 

If you can bear to wait, try leaving your item in the shopping cart for a day. The e-tailer might send you an email offering a discount on that item. Or you might find a discount in your social feeds. Be mindful that if the product’s already on sale, it could sell out while you wait.

7. Ship Items Free

Try to avoid paying for shipping if you can help it. Some sites offer free shipping all the time and some have fairly low spending thresholds, like $25. Rather than pay $7.95 or so for shipping, consider adding a low-priced (but useful) filler item like a pair of socks to score free shipping. If you shop with Amazon but don’t have Prime, try the helpful Filler Item finder for suggestions on what to buy to reach their $35 free shipping threshold.

8. Join the Club 

If there are sites you like to shop, sign up for their mailing list so you can be privy to sales and other special offers. Some sites even send discounts on birthdays or offer bonuses for referring a friend. Following your favorite online brands on social media will also keep you abreast of sales.

Remember, when shopping online it pays to be safe. If you ever have reason to believe your personal information was compromised, you can check your credit report for signs of fraud on Credit.com.

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6 Secrets to Buying Quality Used Stuff Online

quality used stuff

Buying something used vs. new is a classic way to save money. Garage sales and thrift stores are standard for this type of commerce.  But these days, thanks to apps and the internet, there are dozens of ways to buy treasures sellers want to get rid of. There are a few rules of thumb for effective ‘treasure hunting.’

1. Explore the Uncharted Territory

Before you start buying, get familiar with the ins and outs of the site you are visiting. Some sites, like Etsy — where you can not only buy handmade items, but used items as well — are pretty straightforward. EBay can be a bit more complicated, with its variety of options for buying and selling and tricks to scoring the best stuff. Their Bidding and Buying Help page can help you get the lay of the land.

2. Read the Fine Print

Before making a purchase, form a solid understanding of important details like shipping fees, shipping times and return policies. The information should all be accessible – read it so you know what you’re getting into.

3. Be Discerning

From the old guard like Craigslist to newer players like local re-selling marketplace Wallapop, most of these sites offer seller ratings or reviews. They are all a little different. But before you buy from someone, try to figure out if this person is reliable. Look for top-rated sellers with reviews confirming quality merchandise, responsiveness and fast shipping times.

4. Look for a Quality Guarantee

While it’s pretty much a free-for-all on most of these sites, with sellers posting and selling their wares with no oversight, some sites, like clothing and accessories re-seller ThredUp, hand-select the merchandise on their site. If an item is less than perfect, the imperfection is indicated so you really know what you’re getting.

5. Know You’re Not Alone

Buying items from individuals may be unnerving, but most of these online marketplaces have protections in place to ensure you are a happy customer. A good example of this is clothing marketplace Poshmark’s Poshprotect, which does not release your payment to the seller until you give the A-OK. And if you’re unhappy, they make it fairly to return your order (it has to be for a good reason, not just because you changed your mind). Local re-selling marketplace OfferUp offers an extra layer of security with its TruYou verification system, which helps to ID the seller as a “trusted” user.

6. Meet Face to Face & Do It Safely

If you see something you like on a local re-selling marketplace like Craigslist or competitors LetGo, OfferUp and Close5, be sure to meet the seller somewhere secure – you are meeting a stranger after all! Some communities offer designated Craigslist sale zones outside fire or police stations specifically to ensure the safety of these face-to-face sales. You might consider bringing someone with you, and if that’s not possible, let someone know where you will be and when you expect to be home. Also, do not buy anything until you have thoroughly looked it over and tested its functionality.

Keep in mind too that your payment method offers some protections as well. For example, some credit cards offer purchase protections when used on online marketplaces to protect buyers from goods being delivered broken or not as promised. Take a look at your cardholder agreements closely to pick a credit card that has the best protections.

On the same token, you don’t have to buy just anything because it’s a good price. Spending for spending’s sake is a fast way to get into debt.

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